On Monday, Microsoft announced not only the upcoming release of Office 2013, but also a series of improvements brought to its SharePoint and SharePoint Online offering.
The new release includes SharePoint delivered simultaneously as a service and server, and is the first of the kind in the product’s history. It will also lay ground for new capabilities being delivered to the cloud.
A new SharePoint experience will be available for all users, Microsoft announced. It will offer quick access to newsfeeds, documents and sites, while also providing new options related to saving documents, editing lists, sharing content, and theming sites.
Moreover, SharePoint will also be available for users on the go, so that they can share documents, update newsfeeds and do more from their mobile phones or tablet PCs.
Additionally, SharePoint gets new collaboration tools, with support for microblogging, newsfeed, community and other social features.
“Pervasive following of people, sites, documents and hashtags across SharePoint means you can see and act on the latest information in one place,” Microsoft notes in a blog post
Following the acquisition of Yammer
, which should be completed sometime this fall, Microsoft will also deliver a better experience when it comes to connections.
A new “Sites Hub” is now available with all sites put together for fast access. The streamlined site experience brings in one place sites that a user has created or follows, as well as sites promoted by user’s organization.
The collaboration tools were expanded beyond SharePoint’s rich document libraries and lists, and includes new team newsfeeds, and team OneNote notebooks.
Other changes include the availability of SharePoint and Outlook tasks in one place, FAST Search and Recommendations, a new Cloud App Model and Marketplace, and more.
One important feature is the inclusion of SkyDrive Pro, which was designed to make it easy for users to work with their documents in SharePoint, with capabilities such as save, sync, share and collaborate.
“The name conveys the simplicity and increased consistency with our SkyDrive consumer cloud service while reinforcing the ‘Pro’ features of SharePoint like social networking, collaboration, search, metadata, workflow and compliance,” Microsoft explains.
“Click ‘Sync’ on a SharePoint library and you will get the documents offline in the Windows Explorer, Office applications and more. SkyDrive Pro is part of both the SharePoint service in Office 365 and server.”
Unfortunately, no specific info on what SkyDrive Pro stands for has been unveiled. According to a post from ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley
, it was not meant to replace SharePoint Workspace, but it does represent a different service from the usual SkyDrive, which can be used for one’s personal life.